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This was an improvement partnership supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Participating organisations

  • Austin Health
  • Ballarat Health Services
  • Bendigo Health
  • Eastern Health
  • Melbourne Health
  • Northern Health
  • Peninsula Health
  • The Royal Children’s Hospital
  • The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
  • St Vincent’s Hospital
  • Western Health

Summary

Since 2012, there have been a series of reforms of specialist (outpatient) clinics, including new data collection requirements, introduction of a Victorian access policy, and improved standardisation. However, more support is required to address current system constraints and gaps impacting on timely access.

The Specialist clinics access improvement partnership was formed in 2017 between 11 health services to understand the challenges of delivering specialist care in the Victorian healthcare system, as well as to improve access to specialist care and the patient experience.

Based on a collaborative methodology of learning, the partnership brought teams of health practitioners and leaders from participating health services together in a structured way, allowing them to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to implement continuous and sustainable change in their specialist clinics.

The partnership concluded in 2018.   

Aim

Improve the delivery of care and patient experience in specialist clinics by:

  • seeing 100 per cent of urgent patients within 30 days
  • seeing 90 per cent of routine patients within 365 days
  • reducing ‘did not attend’ appointments
  • improving the ratio of new to review patients seen.

Outcomes

All participating health services improved their performance in relation to at least one of the four measures:

  • five services improved the percentage of urgent patients seen within 30 days
  • three services improved the percentage of routine patients seen within 365 days
  • three services reduced ‘did not attend’ appointments
  • four services improved their new to review ratio.

The health services implemented a range of different solutions suited to their organisational needs. 

Examples of some individual achievements are listed below:

  • The Royal Children’s Hospital increased the average proportion of urgent patients seen within 30 days per month from 35 per cent to 55 per cent by restructuring and standardising its referral system, waiting list management, appointment booking, and call centre processes. 
  • Ballarat Health Services improved the efficiency of its cardiology clinics and increased the ratio of new to review patients from 43 per cent to 63 per cent by implementing new triaging and discharge processes.
  • The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital achieved a 47 per cent reduction in its glaucoma overdue review waitlist by redesigning clinic flow to promote collaborative working between clinicians in its glaucoma unit.

Page last updated: 19 Dec 2020

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